You may have seen or heard our recent advertisements regarding Section 18 of the America Invents Act. This provision would make it easier for big banks and financial institutions to infringe on business method patents, and could set a dangerous precedent for the influence of big business on issues like patent reform. In spite of opposition to Section 18 from both sides of the aisle, the House passed the America Invents Act on June 23, 2011 without removing Section 18, and soon that bill will be voted on by the U.S. Senate.
We are still concerned about the unintended consequences of this provision, and others share our concerns.
The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin recently discussed this topic in an article titled “In a Bill, Wall Street Shows Its Clout,” stating:
Of course, in the grand scheme of things, a new patent law may seem to be unimportant or to affect only a few inventors.
But Section 18 represents a much larger issue: It is perhaps the most blatant demonstration of the lobbying power of Wall Street and, just as important, the willingness of Congress to support the interests of the banks, even in the face of clear evidence that the law has no purpose other than to benefit the financial services industry.
When anyone suggests that Wall Street owns Congress — whether true or not — Section 18 will be Example A of a pork-barrel project for Wall Street. For lack of a better cliché, it might even be considered another backdoor bailout of the banks.
Additionally, patent expert and former Chief Judge Paul Michel also weighed in on Section 18 in the Patently-O blog, “Rein in the Big Bank Bail-Out,” calling out the special interest sections that bail out big banks.
We will continue to educate inventors and Members of Congress on the risks of Section 18. Contact your Senator to remind them that ideas are valuable and ask them to remove Section 18 from the America Invents Act.